At the sixth Dinesh Singh Memorial lecture on Human Development, Poverty Alleviation and Peace in South Asia here on Tuesday, Ms Hasina said, the BNP-led alliance had let loose a reign of terror in Bangladesh after assuming power in October last year and there have been massive human rights violations and attacks on minorities.
At the lecture organised by the Indian Council for South Asian Co-operation (ICSAC), Ms Hasina said that terrorism had emerged as a threat not only in her country but in South Asia as a whole and had to be tackled on a priority basis before it assumed draconian proportions.
South Asia faces a multitude of problems poor infrastructures, poverty, illiteracy, cross-border trafficking in women, children, drugs and weapons which could only be addressed mutually through agreed upon principles and mechanisms, the former Bangladesh Premier noted.
Regional co-operation is an idea whose time has come, Ms Hasina pointed out adding, South Asia must act now.
She regretted the fact that despite the existence of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (Saarc), the member countries had not come together as one to tackle the problems which transcended boundaries and were common to all countries in the region.
While observing that the Saarc chambers of commerce had been a non-starter, Ms Hasina suggested an association along the lines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) to facilitate greater regional co-operation.
BIMSTEC (an economic grouping of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand) is a pointer in this direction, she said.